Romans 9:1-13 AUGUST 28, 2016
“Is The Gospel Failing?”
Roman 9: 1-13 Introduction: The apostle having taught Justification and Sanctification, proceeds onto Election, the source and springboard of all the blessings of grace; how this distinguishing act of God’s sovereign will has taken place, both among Jews and Gentiles; while knowing that he knew he would go contrary to the sense of the Jews, who have a notion that all Israel shall have a part in, or inherit the world to come. and that the Gentiles will be for ever miserable; and nothing was more disagreeable to them, than to talk of their rejection of God, and the calling of the Gentiles. Chapter 9 follows the 4 great assurances in Rom 8:
- Is there now no condemnation, and will there be none tomorrow?
- Foreknown , are predestined, are called, and the called justified, and the justified…glorified.
- He give us all things in Christ.
- Nothing separate us from the love of God that is found is Jesus Christ.
Paul goes from rejoicing in Ch 8 to sadness in 9 as the Jews largely reject.
Here we find some of ‘thee must difficult verses’. Luther called them …strong wine. Why? Because Chapter 9 and its teachings hit at our prideful corrupt sinful nature. If this message doesn’t offend us then Paul hasn’t brought the sovereign gospel. The gospel is offensive by its very nature, it is anathema to our sinful rebellious nature.
The way we respond to it is of great importance. Our response should be a humble response to serve Christ.
Paul addresses the fundamental issue: Why don’t all ethnic Israelites believe and there by partake in the eternal inheritance (promises).
And what about the Gentiles? Are they also included? Has God replaced Israel? The answer we will conclude is a resounding No. We will see God is the same God who had made promises in the OT administered the same promises for the NT….. for both Jew and Gentiles by the same Gospel.
Verse 1 “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit.”
The expression, in Christ, means “according to Christ.” By adding ‘I am not lying’ he signifies that he speaks without fiction. My conscience confirms it, by these words he calls his own conscience before the tribunal of God. What he is saying is what I am about to speak is truth, and is no lie; I swear by Christ the God of truth, who is truth itself, and I appeal to him as the true God, the searcher of hearts, that what I now say is truth, and nothing but truth. Paul is beginning to make his case. But it doesn’t come without personal inner turmoil.
In Verse 2 “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.”
That the salvation of the Jews lay near his heart; that it was no pleasure to him to think or even speak of their rejection, and their eternal judicial judgment against them, but it was what gave him continual pain and uneasiness: WHY?
Because of his relationship with them: My brethren, My kinsmen. Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Saul to Paul, he went from Persecutor to Defender!!
He also knows that the perdition of the unbelieving Jews happens through the will and Providence of God. But God’s providence does not prevent us from grieving at the destruction of lost men, though we know that they are doomed by the just judgment of God. Paul in a couple verses later gives his just reasons. Then Paul makes this astounding statement!
Verse 3 “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”
This statement was the highest instance of love among men; “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Accursed…I, Paul, would go to hell!! Moses said the same thing in Exodus 32:32 “But now, if you will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from your book which you have written!” It is probable that God had told him, that those who would break the covenant which he had made with them should be erased off of that list of covenant keepers, and never enter into the promised land. And Moses told the Levites to take their sword and kill their brothers and sisters and their names were taken from the book of life (registers).
Paul proceeds to give 7 reasons why they should not have rejected Christ
Verse 4. “Theirs is the adoption to son-ship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.”
- The adoption to son-ship – The Israelites were all taken into the family of God, this is theocratic election of a nation called his first-born, and this adoption took place when God made the covenant with them at Horeb.
Tthis working of God is nothing new. In Gen 15:5-6 concerning Abram. “He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” and then this great God statement: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
- Theirs is the divine glory – The manifestation of God with them; principally by the cloud by day and pillar of fire by nite, and the Shekinah, or Divine presence, appearing between the cherubim over the mercy-seat. These were peculiar to the Jews; no other nation was ever favored like Israel.
- Theirs is the covenants – The covenants made with Abraham, that which relates to the spiritual seed, and to its various renewals and extensions at different times afterward, as well as to its twofold design – the granting of the land of Canaan, and the sabbath day rest that remains for the people of God made available by the work of Christ.
- The receiving of the law – The revelation of God by God himself, containing a system of moral precepts. This was also peculiar to the Jews; for to no other nation had he ever given a revelation of his will. The 10 Commandments.
- The temple worship – The particular ordinances, rites, and ceremonies for their religious worship, and especially the sacrificial system, so expressive of the sinfulness of sin in man and the holiness of God.
- The promises – The land of Canaan, and the blessings of the Messiah and his kingdom; promises that had been made and often repeated by and through the prophets again for those who were of the faith of Abraham.
Then the 7th in Verse 5: “Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen”.
One of the most important verses in Scripture…This Messiah is the Christ and is the eternal GOD. Here is the deity of Christ. And the Israelites had seen it. They had seen it in a veiled glory. The Shekinah Glory!!
I Corinthians 10:1-4 “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.”
Its always been about Christ and his righteousness.
There is no inconsistency in how and who God calls. There was a remnent out of Egypt and there was a remnent out of Babylon that cae back to the land of Canaan. And there will be also but a remnent out of the Gentiles.
Then Paul gives a stunning reason why most did not accept the Messiah.
Verse 6 “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.”
This statement is the very heart of the matter…and what does it mean?
Paul says there are 2 Israels. “not all descendents of Israel are Israel.” You see that there is nothing wrong with the gospel…..all the Jews are not who you think they are, they thought it was salvation thru their birth rite….. Paul says it is not birth rite!!! This is not about ethnicity…… its about God’s sovereign election. And now this election is from the whole world. So we see that there are 2 Israels. Israel after the flesh and a Israel after the spirit. One is natural and one supernatural. One is of an ethnic line and one is about promise.
It is grace not race. We get that?
Side Note: As a matter of fact, Abraham, wasn’t even a Jew when God called him out of Ur of the Chaldea, but was an idolatrous Gentile! So the beginnings of the nation of Israel can be traced directly to Gentiles!
Not all Israel is Israel…. is a distinction between the spiritual and the natural Israel. Today we would say that it is not because you were born into a christian home and read all the right religious materials….NO NO
In verse 6 Paul just said “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” Now in Verse 7 “and it is not because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children.”
The Jews highly valued themselves, upon being the natural seed of Abraham; counted there right, that they were children, which the apostle here denies: being Abraham’s seed, they were his natural children, and the children of God by national adoption; but, they were not all the spiritual children of Abraham, like us we are all spiritual children of God by the special grace of adoption. It belonged to some of them, which is equally true of Gentile believers even today; who being of the same faith with Abraham, are his children, his seed, and also called the children of God.
Galatians in 3:16 .. “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.”
Gal 3:26-29 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Romans 4:16-17.…“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring (seed is Christ)—not only to those who are of the law (meaning OT believers) but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.”
Abraham is the father of many nations. The seed in Christ came and that line went world wide. A bunch were going to be part of the Israel of God. Gal 6:16.
If it is the supernatural not the natural, it is the invisible church within the visible church. There are unbelievers among the believers. Nothing new.
Well then if the Gentiles were included in the Abrahamic covenant as well as the Jews the Jews have no exclusive right to the blessings of God’s kingdom. God’s spiritual kingdom!! And Paul does not say that the Gospel or the church has replaced Israel, its the unity of believers of both OT and New.
The word has not failed. God has had but one people who is his possession. A people whom he has predestined, he called, he justified, and he will glorify!
This is not a doctrine started by Augustine or Calvin and is not Presbyterian. It was’nt initiated by the Westminster divines. Not something just imbedded in the NT, but it is imbedded in OT…God has always elected!!!!! God has always elected, it is his ‘modes aporendi’….to save a people he wants. Many are called, few are chosen out of the Jews and Gentiles… out of the whole world!!
Paul proves his point using 2 examples from the history of ancient Israel.
Verse 8 – 9 Remember Paul said in verse 7 “Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children” he now adds in verse 8.. “On the contrary, It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded (KJV counted) as Abraham’s offspring.” (seed in NASB) “For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
That the children of the flesh, as such, by virtue of their relation to Abraham according to the flesh, are, therefore, not the children of God, for then Ishmael had put in a good claim. This remark comes home to the unbelieving Jews, who boasted of their relation to Abraham according to the flesh, and looked for justification in a fleshly way. The Lord said that it is not thru the line of Ishmael and his descendents. God said NO NO to Ishmael….It is about promise. But the Lord did grant Ishmael a progeny and it was larger than the line of Isaac.
John 1:11-13 “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
It is the same today in Judaism. They still believe it is by way of ethnicity and good works. Born a Jew gives you favor with God. This is Justification by ethnicity and not by Faith. And God is not impressed at all.
Isa 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
You see, it is the covenant promise of the Messiah that would bring salvation!!! He would make us clean and give us favor with God. Why? Because the Messiah has taken our filthy rags and given us robes of righteousness. This is Justification by Faith alone. This is Justification by Grace. And this Justification is ministered by the Holy Spirit.
For the Christian our good works are not for leading us to our salvation but are works done out of humble gratitude for the work of Christ done in us!
Then who is the True Israel? Jews thought they were……No, the true children of God are in CHRIST…Because He is the True Israel. And if you are in Christ…then You are also the New Spiritual Israel!!! And it is by a sovereign act of God… granted you by the work of the Holy Spirit!!! You were born of God and because you were born of God…..You are reckoned (regarded) righteous!
Then Paul strenghtens his arqument by using another example from ethnic Israel. Verse 10-11 “Not only that, but Rebekah children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—
1.This time it was the same father and mother.
2.Before the twins were born. Nothing to do with the twins. Not foreknowledge!!
3.The younger over the older….culture reversal. The older was to receive the inheritance and God changed that. There are no man-made rules with God.
Verse 11… “in order that God’s purpose in election might stand.”
Here is the great doctrine of divine election. Greek word is Eklogen and is described in Thayer’s Lexicon ‘the act of picking out, choosing: specifically used of that act of God’s free will by which before the foundation of the world he decreed his blessings to certain persons; —the decree made from choice, particularly that by which he determined to bless certain persons through Christ, according to an election which is due to grace, or a gracious election.’
Just another way of saying that God is Sovereign and he chooses.
Say we don’t believe in the Doctrine of Election….are we in the same Bible??? Show me one verse in scripture where man chooses God for the salvation of their souls….choosing Jesus and not God choosing man. Save the time…….there are not any. I have chosen YOU. Oh, there are verses that show that man has a will like Joshua 24:15. But the context there was about going into battle with Joshua in command, and were the people going to stand with him or not. In salvation no one comes to Christ with out the Holy Spirit’s direct intervention.
You see….. Who does God choose?..the ones he chooses to chose!
Verse 12-13 “not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Love and Hated. Words given into actions and are not emotions!!
Another way of saying is Jacob I have elected and Esau I have rejected (passed over). The elder shall serve the younger – These words, with those of Malachi, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, are cited by the apostle to prove, that the purpose of God, according to election, as it did way back still does stand, is that the purpose of God will continue to be carried out.
John Gill a 18th century baptist theologian said it best… ‘His purpose is entirely free, and depends upon his own will and choice, and it stands firm and immutable, and is not to be dis-annulled by earth or hell’…..’For where the wrath of God is, there death follows; but where his love is, there is life.’
Why me? Biblical answer….. In Ephesians 1:4 Paul says “In love he predestined us for adoption to son-ship (verse 4) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
How to we respond: We must obey the will of God revealed in his word, if we do we may be assured that we have been eternally chosen from the certainty of our inner (effectual) calling.
In this way the doctrine of election will elicit not only our praise, reverence, and admiration for God, but also a humble and diligent life.
Jesus fulfilled all that Israel was destined for. And now every person, Jew or Gentile, who trusts in Christ, is united to him and becomes part of this True Israel …and our destiny isn’t in a plot of land in Canaan but whole universe. And our inheritance is eternally secured by the purposes of God in Election for a people He calls his own.
By grace thru faith do you trust in Christ Jesus the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as your Savior and Lord and Treasure? Are you united to him? Has he made you a child of promise, a True Israelite…a Child of God?
Augustine said that ‘God did not chose us cause we believe, but that we would believe!!’
And Christ says it so clear to the sinner….COME!!